WL Superintendent shares why potential school bill would do more harm than good

Superintendent of West Lafayette Schools, Dr. Rocky Killion, said local districts could find themselves in a financial bind if this bill is approved.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 6:26 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 6:56 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- A bill allowing schools to raise teacher salaries in Indiana is making its way through the state legislature.
However, some are concerned about what position it may put local schools in.

House Bill 1003 passed the House Education Committee on a vote of 9-to-3 last week. The bill provides no additional funding to schools, and says public schools should spend 85 percent of their funding in the classroom.

Superintendent of West Lafayette Schools, Dr. Rocky Killion, said local districts could find themselves in a financial bind if this bill is approved. Unless the state provides more revenue, Killion said more problems could occur in the public school system.

"They think spending works both ways," said Killion. "So if you want schools to spend differently, I also think that the state of Indiana can spend differently on public education. I think that too many decisions are being made in Indianapolis. That affects teachers, that affects students. I've always believed that decisions should be made at the schoolhouse and not at the statehouse."

"In this country, we spend $1.7 billion in standardized testing," added Killion. "I believe that if we're going to test students, it should be measuring student learning over time, and it should be used for diagnostics purposes. We shouldn't be using it to evaluate teachers and to evaluate school corporations on their effectiveness.''

With a bill that requires more money to be used in the classroom with no new funding, Killion said local communities face a bigger problem.

''We're the number one nation in the world and losing teachers by year five of their profession," he said. "All the research shows that in order for a teacher to reach their optimal level of performance, they need to be in their eighth to tenth year because practice breeds success.''

This bill still remains in the beginning process, and Killion said the future is up to community members.

''Local communities still need to get involved," he said. "I think parents need to get involved. I think constituents need to get involved with this discussion. I also believe the more school districts need to engage their local representatives. The bottom line is we all need to come together and do whats best for our students, and for our teachers and for our respective communities.

Killion said if schools increase teacher salaries, there may not be enough money for other elements of the education system. That could include custodial, maintenance, health, and special education.

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